When you ask a basketball fan who’s the greatest player of all-time, only one name comes to mind, Michael Jordan. Although it may be a debatable topic, his Airness has achieved milestones that no other player has even come close to achieving. Here are some facts about why Michael Jordan is the GOAT.
Why Michael Jordan’s Legacy Will Live Forever
1. Only NBA player to win a NCAA title, 2 gold medals, and multiple NBA rings
Michael Jordan is Tar Heels basketball. The greatest basketball player ever played there from 1981-1984, winning a NCAA title in 1982. pic.twitter.com/l9bTPmuFgU
— Branden Hunter (@JustCallmeBHunt) July 7, 2017
Jordan has been a proven winner ever since his college days at North Carolina. In his junior year, he led the team to a national championship before jumping to the NBA. He went on to be a key member of the “Dream Team,” said to be the best Olympic basketball team of all-time. Also, he won six titles with the Chicago Bulls in the form of two three-peats.
2. Never lost 3 straight games since 0-3 start in 1991
To further solidify his reputation as a winner, Jordan never let his team suffer more than three consecutive defeats since the 1991 season. His regular season win total is 706 in 15 seasons, and he led the Bulls with the second winningest season in NBA history with 72-10 during the 1995-96 season.
3. Never missed a playoff game
The Hall of Famer never missed games that mattered most, playing in all 179 postseason games as he finished with an 119-60 record. He was the primary reason why most superstars in his generation went ringless, Karl Malone, John Stockton, and Charles Barkley among others.
4. Played 82 games when he was 40 years old
— David Chill (@Post_Pattern) March 22, 2017
One quality of MJ that made him an all-time great is his durability. He missed only a total of 7 games during his time with the Chicago Bulls (1988-1998), excluding 1993-1995 season where he announced his first retirement. What’s more amazing was during his time with the Washington Wizards in the 2002-2003 season, he managed to play all 82 games!
5. Led NBA in total points in 1985, 1987-1998
— Shontong Balentong (@shontong81) November 11, 2015
Well-known for his otherworldly scoring arsenal, Jordan led the league in scoring, even as a rookie! The only exception would be 1986 where he broke his foot. He managed to average more than 30 points per game in eight seasons and ended up with 10 scoring titles under his belt!
6. Never scored single-digit in a playoff game
Jordan never had a single digit playoff game. Just sayin’… RT @ESPN_Numbers: LeBron James scored SEVEN points tonight.
Let that sink in.
— Josh Devlin (@JayPeeDevlin) May 29, 2014
As proof of him being Chicago’s top dog, Jordan never scored a single-digit, not even once in the 179 playoff games he participated in. Imagine how many headaches his defenders had to endure just to keep him off the basket.
Jordan is the epitome of a microwave player (sorry, Vinnie Johnson). He can heat up the offense of the team at any given time, and as proof, MJ scored 40 points in nine and 50 in three consecutive regular season games. To sweeten things up, he also managed to put up back-to-back 50-point games in the playoffs.
8. Most 30, 40, 50-point games in playoff history
Want more jaw-dropping stats? In the 179 postseason games he played, he managed to score 30 points in 109 of those games, with Kobe Bryant in second place at 88. He also tallied 38 40-point games with Jerry West being the runner-up with 20. To nobody’s surprise, he holds the record of having the most 50-point games with 8.
9. Holds record for most points scored in a playoff game
— Peter J. Wiggins (@pjwiggs275) April 21, 2017
Think LeBron James’ 48-point explosion while scoring the last 25 points against the Detroit Pistons was absolutely stellar? Sure, but Jordan’s 63-point game against the eventual champions Boston Celtics remains as the top playoff performance of all-time. On top of that, fellow legend Larry Bird said in an interview that the man wearing #23 was “God disguised as MJ” after their game.
10. Led the league in Win Shares and PER
All-time leaders in career Win Shares per 48 Minutes among SGs
— Andy Bailey (@AndrewDBailey) May 21, 2017
Some may question how efficient his scoring was, and to lay that to rest, he led the league in win shares for at least ten seasons. Moreover, he still holds the league record in PER with 27.91, with LBJ ranked second with 27.6 and Shaquille O’Neal with 27.43.
11. Could easily be a triple-double machine
During the 1989 season, the Bulls placed MJ at the point guard position as an experiment and the results were simply mind-blowing. He recorded 10 triple-doubles in 11 games, averaging 33.6 ppg, 11.4 APG, 10.8 RPG, and 2.9 SPG. In case you are wondering, he only had 28 triple-doubles for the rest of his career. Can you imagine how much havoc he could have wreaked if he fell in love playing the point?
12. Two-dimensional superstar
— NBA (@NBA) January 22, 2016
Jordan was not only known for his elite scoring, he is dubbed as one of the top two-dimensional players of all-time. Not only is he a lethal lockdown defender, he also tallied a total of 200 steals and 100 blocks for two seasons and finished with 893 career blocks, which is most for any guard in NBA history. Not to mention, he won the Defensive Player of the Year award in 1987-88.
13. More playoff greatness
Points/Game in NBA Playoff History:
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) June 1, 2017
To further cement his postseason greatness, he averaged 33.45 ppg in the playoffs for his entire career! Nobody else has finished with an average of more than 30 points, as Allen Iverson was a point short with 29 ppg. He was also the previous holder of most points scored with 5,987, which is now eclipsed by James with 6,163 and counting.
14. Owns the NBA Finals
In just his 2nd year in the nba, Jordan lead a subpar bulls team to the NBA Playoffs where they would be eliminated in round 1. However, Michael Jordan dominated the series unlike anything the nba had seen for a kid his age🔥 – Follow me @nba.in_depth for more quality basketball content🏀 • #nba #basketball #baller #mj #michaeljordan #jordan #airjordan #nike #retro #halloffame #chicago #bulls #rookie #sophomore #goat #mvp #clutch #god #bball #ballislife #windycity #stats #comment #followme
If your favorite team was facing MJ’s squad in the NBA Finals during the 1990s, there’s a good chance you cried yourself to sleep when the Bulls eliminated them. The Bulls were flawless with a 6-0 record and never had to go seven games with any of the Western Conference champs they faced during that time.
15. Charles Barkley’s worst nightmare
When the two collided in the 1993 NBA Finals, Jordan torched the Suns and Charles Barkley, who was named season MVP that year over the former. He scored four consecutive 40-point games in games two to five and scored as much as 55 points in game four, finishing with an average of 41 ppg. Talk about trying to prove a point!
16. 3-point scoring non-existent? Wrong!
Critics tried their best to look for any weakness in Jordan’s game and they found it in his three-point shooting, or so they thought. During the 1992 NBA Finals, they pit him against Clyde Drexler, who they labeled as a better shooter than MJ. That is until he torched the Blazers with six three-pointers while finishing with the most points in a single half with 35. Unfortunately, Ray Allen is the new record-holder after making seven threes in the 2010 NBA Finals against the Lakers.
17. Going out with a bang
— NBA TV (@NBATV) August 31, 2015
In a bid to win his sixth championship, Jordan gave it his all in the last 40 seconds of the game as he was the only Bulls player who touched the ball in that span of time. Down 86-83, he scored an effortless lay-up to cut it to one. Then, he stole the ball from Jazz’ star Karl Malone and called for isolation. He sank the game-winning jumper, clinching his second three-peat in the last eight years. MJ finished the game with 45 points.
18. A Man of His Word
Michael Jordan throws it down on Dikembe Mutombo and does the iconic finger wag, 1997 NBA playoffs pic.twitter.com/Xij5OkFt2a
— 34 12 and 10 on 56% (@RTSportsTalk) April 28, 2016
Dikembe Mutombo was known as one of the greatest shot-blockers in NBA history and Jordan saw this as another challenge he could add to his bucket list. As he scorched Mutombo for 37 points in their first meeting, he even trash-talked the center by shooting free-throws with his eyes closed! Eventually, the much-awaited poster happened in the 1997 playoffs.
19. 69 points – with a twist
As a testament to how scary good this guy is, he scored a career-high 69 points during a regular season game with the Cavaliers. The story doesn’t end there as he seemed to be bored the whole time. So to make things interesting, he told his defender, Craig Ehlo, every move he planned to make so he could defend him better. Sadly, he still made every shot.
20. Greatest trash-talker of all-time?
Y’all remember when Michael Jordan told Muggsy Bogues, “Shoot it you ** midget,” and it altered his shot for the rest of his life?
— #NattyBound (@JORDY_McBUCKETS) October 2, 2016
Jordan is said to even ruin a man’s career after spouting a few words. According to a man who had dinner with the late and former Charlotte Hornets coach Johnny Bach, MJ taunted Muggsy Bogues to shoot a jumper during a crucial possession. The exact words being, “shoot it you f*in midget,” he missed and the rest was history. The point guard’s shooting percentage was never the same, although this decline could be attributed to aging.
— NMAP (@buildNMAP) February 22, 2017
The man won awards from left to right. He was a 14-time NBA All-Star, six-time NBA champ, and Finals MVP, five-time Most Valuable Player, 10-time All-NBA First Team, 1985 Rookie of the Year, two-time Slam Dunk champion and the list goes on and on. Here’s a complete list of his awards and accolades.
22. Space Jam
The legend also took his talents to the movie screen as he starred in the iconic film, Space Jam. Teaming up with Bugs Bunny and other Looney Tunes character, MJ faced the Monstars, who stole the talents of NBA stars Larry Johnson, Muggsy Bogues, and Patrick Ewing to name a few. The classic mash-up was a success as the movie enjoyed box office success.
23. Inspiration to present and future NBA superstars
Jordan will forever be the role model for present and future NBA superstars as they try to surpass his legendary feats. He is the reason why Bryant and James strive for greatness as the latter continue to chase the ghost of #23.
Ever wondered when was the greatest game he ever played in? Hint: It’s not in the NBA:
— ESPN (@espn) July 22, 2017
Here are 10 of the best Michael Jordan plays in his storied NBA career from TheNBAFreak:
Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world right now and there is no denying that Michael Jordan is the reason why the NBA is enjoying global success. His amazing stats and remarkable performances in the court will always be the benchmark for greatness, and to be mentioned in the same air equates to a very successful career, to say the least. For now, the crown of being the Greatest of All-Time is not switching heads anytime soon.
Do you agree that Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all-time? Share your favorite MJ moments in the comments below!
Featured image from Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com